Graphics Photography Reviews Software

Rawker: Keeping It Simple.

A friend recently received his new Nikon D300 camera, and as soon as he had a battery charged he went out picture taking and shot his images in the RAW format as was his usual practice.  He stopped off in his travels at a another friend’s house to show off his new camera and to share some of the test pictures.  Not satisfied with the small view on the camera back he sought to transfer the images to his friend’s Mac computer.

Then he realized that though his friend had Macintosh Photoshop CS2 that it would not open his D300 RAW files as there was no updater available for Photoshop CS2 that he could readily find.  He phoned me asking if I had a suggestion as to a RAW converter that would open his D300 files that he might quickly download from the internet and use in this instance.

While I suggested several programs that had 30 day trial usages that he could use to open his D300 RAW files, they all needed massive downloads and the friend’s dial-up connection was not up to the task. The easiest solution was a freeware program called RAWKER 2 in version 2.1.3. ( The download file contains both Rawker 2 and Rawker 1 and the image viewer ImageShow. RAWKER 2.1.3 is for Mac OS X 10.4 and later, and is only 2 MB in a zip file that can be handled even on a dial-up connection.

Here’s the info from the Sofotex Mac Software Download site; Basically quoted, but I’ve paraphrased a bit.

Rawker is a converter program for RAW files produced by digital photo cameras. It’s philosophy is the good old Apple motto: "Keep it simple". It allows you to convert a single RAW file or batch process a folder of RAW files. It’s possible to modify settings that may optimize the appearance of your image(s) and these modifications can be made before processing any files. These settings can be saved in a file and re-loaded later. During batch processing Rawker shows the image it is currently processing.

Rawker always produces TIFF image files with 16 bits color depth (which is 48 bits per RGB pixel). Rawker 1 and Rawker 2 are both freeware. Rawker 2 is for Mac OS X 10.4 and later; Rawker 1 is obviously for earlier versions of OS X. Rawker 2 is a complete rewrite that can convert RAW files using Apple’s core Graphics (Quartz) technology, or Dave Coffin’s DCRaw tool. You choose which mode you want to use for the Raw file conversiton. There is no need to install Dave Coffin’s DCRaw separately, it is embedded into Rawker 2. As I said earlier, both Rawker 1 and Rawker 2 and ImageShow are in one small 2 MB zip file.

You can find more info about "DCRaw" at Dave Coffin’s web site; I heartily recommend you check out Dave Coffin and applaud him for his efforts in providing a means of decrypting the various RAW formats instituted in the camera industry.

RAWKER provides you with  a histogram, and gamma, exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness settings, and of, course, a view of the image which is being adjusted.  The opened image is saved as a TIFF in 16 bits of color depth (I repeat that in case you skimmed over the quote above). Jpg and .png are also format options that you can use for saving. The color space can be sRGB, Adobe (1998) RGB, or generic RGB.

So here is a quick answer for RAW file conversion if you have a Mac computer and you shoot RAW files and don’t have the proper RAW converter in your usual image editing program.  I haven’t tried it, but I assume RAWKER would work on for new Nikon D3 camera as well.  It’s a quick, 2-Megabyte, insurance policy to make sure you can open RAW files for a camera not specifically covered in your (possibly outdated) image editor.  I have a copy on my thumb drive that I always carry with me as insurance in case I get caught without my laptop computer and have to depend on someone else’s Mac computer when I have been photographing in RAW format.  Thank you Dave Coffin!

…and thank you Rainer Frädrich!

Rawker 2 is freeware and available at



By Dr. Michael N. Roach

Dr. Michael N. Roach is a retired Professor of Art from Stephen F. Austin State University. His 33 year teaching career spans the silver to digital age. His images have been shown throughout the American South, Russia, Ireland and France; some of them are in the permanent collection of the Combes Gallery at The American University of Paris in France. An avid Mac Computer advocate he teaches workshops on digital imaging and courses in Adobe Photoshop as well as digital printing for the Fine Arts.